Tipping the Scale: Healthy Habits at Work

By Tammy Beaumont, BSN, RN, BC, CBN

Methodist Dallas Medical Center

You know all the usual healthy habits for proper weight management, but putting your health care education and training into practice is another story. Following a healthy diet and regular exercise program take time and energy. For many of us, long shifts and irregular work hours zap our time and our energy. Here are a few simple ways that you can promote healthy eating in your work life.

Grab ‘n’ Go. It’s true that eating small meals more frequently and not skipping meals make your metabolism perform at a more efficient pace. To avoid grabbing nutritionally empty snacks in the break room, pack your own healthy snack bag for work. Fresh fruit, raw nuts, yogurt, celery, carrot sticks, and protein bars offer convenience and fiber to keep you energized, and your hunger satisfied. At Methodist Health System, even vending machines offer healthier options. Look for items marked with the Balanced Choice green leaf icon. You’ll find better choices such as fruit snacks and baked chips.

Pedometer. Use the stairs instead of the elevator or take the long way to your destination if time permits. Adding in extra steps here and there really does add up! Wear a pedometer during the day to keep track. More than 10,000 steps a day is considered healthy and active. Knowing how many steps you’re taking can empower you and elevate your fitness goals.

H2O. Water is key to any healthy diet. Dehydration can make you feel tired and lethargic.  Drinking eight to ten glasses a day can stave off hunger and keep you feeling more alert.  With all the plastic and metal water bottles on the market today, it’s easy to include more water consumption in your day.

Make healthy choices. Many hospitals provide a variety of healthy food options in their cafeterias. Choose lean, grilled meats, salads, low-fat dairy products, multi-grain breads and fruit. High-fiber foods like apples will make you feel full longer. Plus apples bring additional water into your body. During the month of February, Methodist has teamed up with the American Heart Association for Life’s Simple Seven - promoting seven things you can do for a healthier lifestyle. They include getting active, controlling cholesterol, eating better, managing your blood pressure, losing weight, reducing blood sugar, and stopping smoking. Join us for lunch ‘n’ learns as Methodist’s nutritionists provide educational presentations during lunch on each of these topics. Most importantly, focus less on what you shouldn’t eat and instead find ways to add more healthy foods to your daily diet.

Sleep. Adequate sleep is important to weight management. We tend to make better choices when we’re rested and our mind is clear. Sleep deprivation can also lead to increased hunger and slow your metabolism and fat-burning abilities.

Strength in numbers. Enlist a few of your colleagues to follow healthy eating habits on the job. Volunteer to bring in healthy options for potlucks. Create your own weight loss contest with your fellow nurses or techs. Prizes can include a money pool, gift card or simply bragging rights. A little competition is healthy and motivating. There’s strength in numbers.

At Methodist Health System, we value our staff and encourage them to work together to create a healthy work environment - not just for the patients, but for each other as well. By adopting some of these habits, we can better serve the people around us and work together to create a healthier community, both inside and outside the hospital walls.

To learn how your career can shine at Methodist Health System, visit us at Jobs.MethodistHealthSystem.org.

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Posted Healthy Eating, Nurses